In continuing coverage tonight, the man accused of setting an apartment building on fire has his first court appearance. KX News reported on the fire Wednesday as families were evacuated from their homes.
45-year-old Eduardo Rodriguez is charged with arson and two counts of criminal mischief.
He could spend 20 years in jail if convicted.
Court documents say Rodriguez set fire to an apartment building in the early morning hours Wednesday on South Washington Street.
When fire departments arrived on the scene, parts of the third floor were fully engulfed in flames, there was smoke damage throughout the building, much more than 10 thousand dollars in loss.
Shortly after responding to the fire, police were called to a break-in alarm at Pier One across the street.
A large window at the business was broken, and blood was found. Rodriguez was found a short distance away bleeding and with other injuries according to police.
Lighter fluid and a lighter were found in Rodriguez’ bag.
He told police in an interview, he accidentally started the fire after falling asleep with a cigarette, however, in a second interview with police, he told them a different story of the fire starting.
Surveillance video from the scene shows Rodriguez entering the building shortly before the fire started.
Court documents say Rodriguez jumped from the 3rd floor of the building, which was how he was injured.
Fire investigators say the fire was set in the bedroom—a K9 was able to help detect that the fire was intentionally set.
Watch and read more about Webbster the arson dog